10 Tips to Prevent Shin Splints when Running

10 Tips to Prevent Shin Splints when Running

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is a prevalent injury that is caused by overusing a specific set of muscles in the lower leg. The injury causes pain to manifest along the inner edge of the shinbone (tibia). Shin splints are most commonly observed in runners, dancers, and military recruits.

The overuse of the muscles in the lower leg and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone causes this injury. This can happen due to activities such as running, jumping, and marching. Shin splints can also be caused by wearing improper footwear or by running on hard surfaces.

Shin Splints Symptoms

The main symptom of shin splints is pain along the inner edge of the shinbone. The pain is usually worse when exercising and may improve when you rest. Other symptoms of shin splints include:

  • Swelling and tenderness along the shinbone
  • Muscle spasms in the shin
  • Difficulty walking or running

10 Tips to Prevent Shin Splints when Running

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, are particularly troubling. It is particularly true if you enjoy sports and want to keep fit. On the contrary, you may need to rest if you have shin splints. Here are some ideas for managing shin splints.

Build Speed and Distance Gradually

Your body is capable of adapting to any challenges. Over-scheduling can cause burnout and injury. That is true whether you are running, jumping, walking, or any other type of Exercise.

It's essential to prevent shin splints. The 10% rule is highly recommended regardless of whether you're just starting or trying to improve your running routine.

You should not increase your mileage by more than 10% weekly. This rule applies to other types of Exercise, such as interval training and plyometrics. However, it is different in that you must adjust the intensity and time of your workout.

Improve Running Technique

Shin splints can be a common injury in the running. It is best to place your foot midsole on the ground and then roll to the ball of your foot and toes while running.

Avoid landing on your heels or toes to reduce strain on the shinbone. It requires shorter strides, a faster cadence (how fast you walk in one minute), and requires landing midfoot.

To reduce the stress your body is subject to from running, you can adjust your form by taking shorter strides and moving faster. We are different and need to be adjusted to optimize our form. A physical therapist can provide more personalized recommendations.

Other important factors for your form include:

  • Lower body coordination
  • Spine alignment
  • Ankle and foot range of motion
  • Core strength
  • Knee alignment
  • Hip alignment
  • Lower body strength

Find Footwear with Arch Support

Shin splints can be prevented and treated with better shock absorption. Running shoes (or orthotics) that provide additional support and cushioning can be helpful. The foot alignment may also play an essential role in developing shin problems.

Stiff Arch or Ankle

Every joint is designed to be a unique and optimized combination of stiffness, flexibility, and both. It ensures the body has the right amount of shock absorption, stability, and mobility to perform daily tasks without injury.

The surrounding tissues are forced to fight tension when the arch of the ankle or the entire foot doesn't move as fluidly as it should. Because of this dysfunction in the lower body, semirigid supportive shoes are recommended.

Flat Feet or a Hypermobile Foot and Ankle

The other end of the spectrum is when too much mobility in the lower legs can lead to problems, such as overpronation. If there is excessive movement in the ankle and foot with weight-bearing, connective tissue and muscles must be extra strong to ensure adequate support. A stiff shoe can reduce this strain insert that supports the arch and heel. 

Softer Surfaces

The surface on which you run directly relates to the force going through your lower body and leg every time your heel touches the ground. Thus, running on hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt can lead to more harm than on soft surfaces such as dirt and grass.

Running on hard surfaces may be your only option. You must be more mindful of your running form to reduce strain. To give your legs some rest, you can run on softer surfaces. A treadmill is another option. You will run faster and have a lower impact. 

Warm-Up Before Exercise

Two main benefits of warming up before you start exercising are increasing your heart rate and blood flow to your muscles and preparing you for intense training.

It will help you avoid muscle injury and maximize your workout potential. If you feel stiff, a good warm-up does not necessarily include stretching. You can start by walking fast, jogging, or massaging to warm your heart rate and body.

Incorporate Cross-Training

Exercise is good for your body, but too many of one movement can lead to injury. The repetitive injury occurs when tissues aren't allowed to heal correctly. Cross-training is essential for any training program.

Cross-training can supplement your existing routine and reduce the likelihood of injury. Add weight training and lower-impact activities to your weekly routine focused on hip strength and core.

When you cross-train, strength training should be a regular part of your exercise routine to balance muscles commonly neglected in your sport. For example, back, shoulder, and butt exercises significantly add to a running regime.

Consider adding a general strength and stretching program for the feet and ankles. It helps promote proper balance, strength, and flexibility in these "high-traffic" areas. Research shows that a balanced program promoting lower body stabilization can minimize the risk of shin splints.

Take Time to Rest

As important as your exercise time is, recovery is equally important. It would be best first to rest your legs after shin splints. Rest doesn't mean that you have to stop doing things. It means that you can incorporate lower-intensity activities such as:

  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Strengthening
  • Cross-training
  • Swimming
  • Biking

It is best to avoid running for more than one day, especially if you are new to running. You can choose the running volume that is most appropriate for you if you are more experienced or fit. However, it is essential to vary your mileage and intensity. You must ensure enough rest to avoid more severe problems like compartment syndrome or stress fracture. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight can cause a significant strain on all activities. Running and jumping are high-impact exercises that can only increase this problem. Start slowly with your exercise routine and increase the intensity as you lose weight.

You will reap the benefits of Exercise and weight reduction without dealing with pain. Every person's body is different, so weight alone won't tell you everything.

You may find it even more helpful to seek medical attention and have your body composition evaluated. Men's healthy body fat percentage is between 5-20% and 15-30% for women. 

Monitor Pain and Symptoms

Regarding injury prevention, listening to your body is the most important thing. Listening to your body's words can be challenging when trying to achieve your health goals and push yourself.

You should pay attention to any new soreness or pains and get them treated as soon as possible. You can prevent more severe problems from developing. 

Resting for a day or two to deal with new symptoms is better. It will allow you to begin simple treatments such as Heat therapy with Sacksythyme's microwavable heating pad, massage, and Cold therapy with a cold pack. Please do not ignore your pain; you will have to deal later with it as a more significant problem. 


Our Top Pick
The Original Sack hot and cold therapy pad

    SACKSY THYME Heat & Cold Therapy pack for Shin Splints:

    The SACKSY THYME pack is a durable, comfortable and easy-to-use therapy pack that can be heated in a microwave or chilled in a freezer. Heat therapy increases blood flow, relaxes muscles, and reduces stiffness, while cold therapy reduces swelling, numbs the affected area, and alleviates pain.

    Talk to a Physical Therapist or Biomechanics Specialist

    A physical therapist can help you determine where to begin your exercise routine or if you have concerns about developing shin splints. They can assess flexibility, muscle balance, coordination, and form for running, walking, and other daily activities. The doctor can work with you to develop a personalized program to help prevent shin splints or other issues. 

    Staying Ahead of Shin Splints

    Shin splint pain can affect your daily life and impact your exercise routine. It is essential to prevent shin splints if you suffer from them often. To prevent shin splints, immediately treat sore areas, and remember these ten tips.

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